You should know I’m just a beginner. By no means am I giving tips to the folks that make a living with this machine. My goal is to help the clueless, like myself, find ideas and maybe waste less vinyl.
I actually don’t even have a Silhouette of my own – I’m lucky to have one that I can use to try before I buy. (After just a few projects, I have added the new one to my wish list).
My first project was a family name sign. I actually found this blank wood sign in the dollar area at Target. If you find any at your local Target, buy them. All of them. You will never find that quality for that price again. There is a similar sign on Target’s site
but I have not seen this one in person (yet).
Start with your design:
- For the “F” I used a classic, plain font. I think this is actually Times New Roman. Creative, I know.
- Place your initial in the middle of your workspace. You can change the size of your workspace by using the icon that looks like this
Or you can just use the measurements that appear on the sides of your pieces.
- Try different fonts. I actually downloaded one I thought I loved, but with our name I wasn’t thrilled. Find another.
- The script fonts require a little more work if you want them actually joined together. Great directions on how to weld your letters together can be found here.
- Remember, you can stack them on the studio, but when you are ready to print you will need to separate the pieces. If you are using two colors, I just drag the other parts off the cutting area temporarily.
- Adjust cut settings. If you do not have a cutting mat (I don’t use one with vinyl), change the Cutting Mat setting to none.Tip: The slower the speed, the better luck I have not jamming everything up. Trust me, it’s still crazy fast.
- Load your media. Tip: make sure your rollers are in the right positions. This one got us. If you have a smaller piece of vinyl (you’re risky), you need to move the roller over so that the vinyl doesn’t slip out of place. If you have a larger design, you don’t want the roller running over your cuts and jamming. Also, make sure you have enough room behind the Silhouette – the vinyl will feed in and on the back if your design is large enough.
- Send to Silhouette. Pray.
- If all went well, cut a box around the cut design. This doesn’t need to be perfect; you just want to limit your space. Pull the excess vinyl from the corner (don’t try to go from the middle or you might actually pull out the part you want).
- I use contact paper instead of the “Transfer Tape”, but that’s a personal preference. I like that it is cheap and I can see where I’m placing the vinyl. Cover the cut vinyl with the contact paper. It’s a good idea to use a credit card or flat edge to make sure it is stuck on well.
- Pull the backing off the vinyl and position the contact paper (with cut design) on your sign. Use credit card to press vinyl to surface and remove contact paper.
The sign took me what seemed like forever, but I threw this pumpkin together in maybe 10-15 minutes. It’s a lot of getting used to the machine and not making silly mistakes.
What are your best tips for Silhouette Cameo starters? Share with us!